Fiji Airways employees say bodyguards for former attorney-general Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum had been allowed to hold weapons onto Fiji Hyperlink home flights when he was a passenger with out Civil Aviation Authority of Fiji (CAAF) approval.
Present and former airline floor employees have advised this newspaper they had been directed by Fiji Airways senior administration to permit the weapons to be carried within the cockpit of Fiji Hyperlink plane, despite the fact that approvals from CAAF had not been obtained.
Fiji Airways chief govt Andre Viljoen says there are “regulatory accepted processes and procedures” for the carrying of harmful items which “are adopted strictly in each occasion”.
Nevertheless CAAF has advised this newspaper that it issued no approvals for firearms to be carried for the needs of Mr Sayed-Khaiyum’s journey. Mr Sayed-Khaiyum was the minister for Civil Aviation within the FijiFirst authorities from 2014 to 2022.
He has not responded to The Fiji Instances emails to him on the allegations.
Emily Simmons, a former member of Fiji Hyperlink’s Premier Service group, advised this newspaper that Fiji Airways employees had initially raised issues when Mr Sayed-Khaiyum’s bodyguards carried firearms on board home flights.
“The right process is that we should see or be given written approval from CAAF and the airline, and as soon as this has been happy, the journal (the a part of the gun holding bullets) should be ejected and saved individually from the weapon within the cargo maintain,” she stated.
“However each time the previous A-G and his bodyguards travelled, we had been advised by a really senior govt to permit the weapons onboard and for them to be stored within the cockpit with the pilots. “We knew this was a breach however we couldn’t do something about it as a result of we wanted our jobs.
“To my information, we had been by no means proven a written approval from the airline or CAAF (Civil Aviation Authority of Fiji).
“We had been simply advised verbally to permit it.” One other floor employees member who spoke to this newspaper on the situation of anonymity claimed he was significantly involved when advised to permit the weapons onboard the flights.
“The primary time I got here throughout it, I requested them if this was for actual,” he stated.
“I used to be advised it was the norm however I used to be involved as a result of so far as airline and civil aviation laws go, that was undoubtedly not the norm.
“I had by no means seen an e mail authorisation approving the carriage (of firearms) or a fax — which is per CAAF laws.”
Regulation 29 of Fiji’s Air Navigation Rules prohibit the carrying of arms and ammunition in any plane flying “to, from, inside or over Fiji” with out CAAF permission.
CAAF follows worldwide requirements known as “Technical Directions for the Secure Transport of Harmful Items by Air” issued by the Worldwide Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO).
Regulation 13 of the Civil Aviation (Safety) Rules permits “any police officer or different individual lawfully entitled to hold firearms in the midst of their duties” to hold them on an plane solely in the midst of official obligation and with the permission of CAAF.
One other employees member, who additionally spoke on the situation of anonymity stated safety laws from CAAF and the airline “are clear about arms and ammunition carriage”.
He stated that beneath ICAO guidelines, the pilot-in-command should be notified, and “correct written documentation authorising the carriage of a weapon is offered”.
CAAF appearing chief govt officer Theresa O’Boyle-Levestam stated CAAF had not issued any approvals to Fiji Airways for the carriage of firearms for Mr Sayed-Khaiyum’s bodyguards.
Requested if CAAF had issued a “blanket approval” for them, she stated “CAAF doesn’t grant blanket approvals for carriage of firearms
on board an plane”.
Requested to provide copies of any approval if granted, she replied: “We don’t maintain any approval as such on report.”
This newspaper had requested Fiji Airways whether or not its administration was conscious of the difficulty, whether or not the previous A-G had obtained approval for his bodyguards’ firearms to be taken onto Fiji Hyperlink plane and whether or not it gave written approval for the weapons to be stored with the pilots.
The Fiji Instances had additionally requested whether or not the airline obtained an approval from CAAF and, in that case, whether or not we’d be allowed to see a duplicate of it.